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New Moon

I never go out in the evening....well hardly ever....so was much excited to be going out for the first time in....oooh it must be about a year at least for a trip to the cinema for Sunday afternoon and see a couple of friends I haven't seen since their wedding.

I quite enjoyed the film Twilight when it came out, after having read the Twilight books.
The first film did portray the intense teenage passions and yearnings of Bella and Edward with the sort of restraint that normally (of our generation) that age keeps on our actions. The film Twilight was directed by a female director and I thought she had captured that intensity that ran through the book quite well.

However, with this second film(by a male director), after seeing action packed trailers with special effects I was quite geared up to see a very different film with really good effects and action packed...after all there is motorcycle riding, cliff diving, and werewolf packs and fighting as well as the Volturi. I was disappointed in New Moon.
We went to the Odeon on Muswell Hill, a great retro style cinema that had sofas! We hired one sofa between 2 of us....and had loads of room to lounge around and then the film started off quite well.

I was anticipating the werewolves bit, so getting quite excited...but after about an hour of constant mumbling, in which I could hear not a lot of dialogue (I mean mumbling between the characters not just mumbling in the cinema!) the werewolf thing happened, but didn't really show much phasing as such, they just appeared really quickly And disappointingly, the best bits had indeed all been in the trailers. I think compared with the books, the plot seemed choppy and seemed more of a filler between Twilight and tne sequel to New Moon. A lot of the plot I only got because I had read the books, and I wondered if this was a film for fans of the books, or a film aimed at a general audience with no knowledge of the books.

However, there was a ripple of effect through the audience when Jake (Taylor Lautner) took his shirt off for the first time....from that point on though, the effect is rather diluted by him always running around with no shirt and shorts on. And he just got bigger and bulkier til he looked like an advert for steroids.

Can anybody recommend a good current film or past film on DVD? I keep borrowing DVDs lately and watching films that I know of mainly from having read the book, and then being totally disappointed with the film. This includes Incendiary, Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Day The Earth Stood Still (remake) and many more.
Making Ready To Wear

Alice P Beanie Free Pattern on Ravelry
Has been downloaded 426 times

I am having a short break at the moment from designing stuff for publishing. I am designing knits to be made up for a ready to wear collection. I am thinking of an angle that connects everything in the collection as well as thinking of the season. Thankfully, Julia, a knitter I have worked with before on some publishing stuff has offered to help make some things.
Stashbusting Buster Baby Beanies Free Pattern on Ravelry
Have been downloaded 975 times

This is totally refreshing because the main objectives change slightly.
For publishing, you are always trying to rack your brains for something that is unique and edgy, that fits a brief or story and is tempting for the publisher. Sometimes the emphasis on winning a chance to submit does not fall on the end user, the knitter of your pattern. Sometimes it is the magazines that want interesting edgy patterns, and yet when you sell indie published patterns you might be surprised to find that the simple intermediate patterns do better than the 'clever' ones.

Ribbed Clara Beanie in cotton/Angora
Another design popular with Mums but I didn't
write up a pattern thinking it was too simple and not edgy enough

  • When you are thinking of making ready to wear these are the main objectivesWhat will suit the season and sell
  • What knits are effective but use less yarn
  • How can you use leftovers from one project, to make a complimentary project in the collection
  • How can you design knits that are slightly edgy and unque but above all quick to knit (e.g. chunky hat with a few colourwork motifs, instead of fingering sock weight and a full pair of socks with overall multi colourwork) How can you make really simple patterns that are easy for your knitters to use.
  • Can you specifically design knits that are interesting but use up lots of fragments of skeins e.g. stripy bright beanies.
Of course, if you take something like the stripy bright beanie, I have a pattern like that which is fairly popular but free. 975 people have downloaded, and many have used it. I would never have thought of selling the pattern because it is such a simple beanie to make and I would never have submitted this project, as it is not an edgy design.

A co-ordinated baby set made for friends' babies
Very simple but much appreciated in Cashmere and merino antique Pink for a girl, and faded blue for a boy.
Another pattern never written up as it is seen as too simple

However, it is clear that there are people w
ho do need a pattern however simple and they do want to make this to wear. It seems that designer who make indie patterns to sell on their website or Ravelry, often try to be edgy and unique to attract buyers, but perhaps we should be stopping and thinking.....what is it that mothers will want to make for their kids? What will their kids wear?and Is it quick and easy to make?

In these cases, I think that the objectives of Ready to Wear and making for a Published Pattern actually collide.
So, there are one or two patterns I have put together for the Ready to Wear collection, that I can see selling perhaps as individual patterns. Or, perhaps there is also an expectation that an easy non edgy pattern should be free?
The Anticraft: Knitting, Beading & Stitching For the Slightly Sinister

Remember this book? I have 3 knitting designs in this publication which is a multi media craft book. The Anticraft have a small stock of books, once they are sold, this is what Zab has to say about the current situation

''I got a letter from our publisher saying that they have found themselves in an "overstock situation" with Anticraft: Knitting, Stitching, and Beading for the Slightly Sinister ............. ..............So, the bad news is that it will not be reprinted, but the GOOD NEWS is that I was able to buy 150 deeply discounted copies, which I will in turn sell to you, signed and personalized.''
..............We ordered the books Friday morning, and they will reach HQ in 10 business days. Which means that you can preorder a personalized book right now and have your holiday shopping done and out of the way in a trice, and we'll ship it out as soon as we have them in our hot little hands. Aren't we so helpful? You now how your own book order button under the book tab. The price is $16.76 (~£10), including shipping. Enjoy!''

So, this is your last chance really to buy this book...as they are not going to run a reprint. Otherwise, if you don't buy, I will be selling single patterns from this book but at a price of around $7 per knitting pattern. Which means $21 for the three, so buying the book now could get you a bargain of all patterns included for a price of $16.76.

The Inside Loop

Sadly, The Inside Loop magazine, a British online source of free patterns, is now to close. Mainly due to time constraints of both the editors and trying to procure good fees for designers from advertising revenue.

I am hoping another Brit mag will rear its head but perhaps not in this climate.
This pattern though, did have a good run in the mag for 18 mths and many people have made their own versions, you can see lots of them on Ravelry

Anyway, I had this one pattern you can see here, in the magazine,
Ondine: Sleeves For a Mermaid.

I am looking into releasing this pattern as a single self published pattern, so it should be available from my own pattern shop very soon.

I also saw that Knotions magazine, which is about the same age as the Inside Loop is also going to be closing. I think the problem is, really to do with trying to attract quality patterns and pay the fees that designers expect.

From a designers point of view, we have a lot of choice of where to submit and we don't really need nor can we afford to do stuff for free. I still like to do pro bono type work, and choose stuff on artistic merit, but after about 6 or more years of doing this, I am getting to the stage where I want to be paid for my time. I get offered far more work than I can actually take on, so I really don't need to do stuff for free in order to get the experience behind me. Also, so many designers are working on their own private collections and have outlets to self publish patterns. It is difficult, because I would have liked to support online mags that try so hard to offer designers fees, but that does not necessarily mean they would have wanted to choose my designs.

It seems that Knitty is surviving well, and seems to keep on going whatever the financial climate. It still has the same kudos that it always did, but I do wonder if people get quite so excited about a new issue going live now that there are places like Ravelry to satisfy our knitted pics hungry eyes. I can still remember when surfing used to throw up nothing to look at, and coming across Knitty was like finding heaven. Then, after joining an S n B, everyone knew the day it went live everyone would be rushing to be the first to make some of its garments.

Are we getting spoilt I wonder? And also, are there just too many easy sources for free patterns in other places in order for advertisers to feel confident about going in certain magazines and being guaranteed hits?

In a time of recession, who are the winners and who are the losers? I can't quite work out how this has affected me, if you take out the fact the other half is redundant, I am actually not doing too badly for work but although I am busy, I could not live on the proceeds...not with an endowment mortgage. I feel fatigued at the thought that despite paying for 16 years, my regular payments have cleared the interest onnly and there is still going to be the capital sum plus a bit more to pay when the term ends!

Bad news....or New Opportunities?

For quite a few months, I have been panicking slightly about the low contribution my knitting work brings into the household. I do design for fun, and I do like to choose projects on merit and not worry about the finance. However, I kept questioning myself as to whether I should care about the money, or whether I should at least stop breaking even by spending any fees on new materials.

A little voice kept telling me, that my partner's job that supports us both might not continue forever.

The partner has not been well this week, he tried to go to work on Monday but felt too ill when he got there so decided to come home sick at lunch time. Just before he left, he was called into his department head's office and dropped a bombshell. His work is going to be outsourced, making his post redundant. He might get a chance to be redeployed in the new structure, but will have to apply for it with everyone else and also it would mean a downgraded position etc

Well, this is a blow. He had noticed, that he has not had a positive attitude towards his age of late. he is nearly 50 and if he applies for a job that he could definitely do, he does not get asked to go to interviews. For some time now, in this post, he has not been included in meetings and been part of decisions that directly affect his post. Neither had he had any positive career development or been allowed to go on any training courses. And, he was buying his own books....yes, books for work to help him develop his skills! if he gets redeployed then if he is put in a lower post, it isn't actually going to be a positive move for his career development. That is if he gets offered the post, as there will be lots of people applying for positions.

''Is it because I am 50 next year, or is it because I openly flaunt my tattoos?''

I didn't think it was a very nice thing to do when someone is going off sick, to give them news like that and for them to have to worry and brood over it whilst on sick leave. In fact, he went back to work today just because he needed to catch up on information to do with this situation, and really he was not well enough to do so.

I feel really bad for him, life has not been treating us well lately. We've both had illnesses in the family plus my own illness, and I fell impotent to help him on the cash front. Losing his wage would be a terrible blow to both of us.

However, he is going to try to pick himself up, when his flu symptoms have gone, dust himself off and try to use this situation as a positive step towards improving his career position.

In the meantime, I suppose I had better get my skates on and just produce patterns, patterns, patterns and just try to improve the financial situation. I hope this does not mean I have to compromise, and stop doing certain projects that could be of artistic value to pursue ones that bring revenue.

And, if anyone knows of a post for a senior web developer/programmer at any company, or perhaps ideally in the South West of the UK...possibly for an academic instution...then let us know so he can apply!
Just a little stock check on Brown Sheep.....

I want to make some hats, mittens and possibly sweaters in a worsted/aran yarn like Brown Sheep
So am just trying to find out what is in stock in the UK, and if not, what can I use as a substitute.

These are the sorts of shades. I love the coffee and natural shades, but also like the bright greens and blues. The squiggles are what is not in stock, or very low at Get Knitted.

I always get stuck trying to find substitutes of these in the UK, and want to buy British.